Taxi. drivers. are. the. worst.
Today I cycled up to someone's house so that I could buy some legit panniers from her--found 'em on the Irish craigslist (gumtree.ie). The panniers are epic: grey paisley design, little lizard logo decals, tons of pockets, waterproofing, and a plastic "skeleton" so the pockets keep their shape when empty. They were 100 euro in Germany when new, and are still basically new but I got them for 40. A steal, and they're so cuuuuuuuuuute ~ plus the lady I bought them from was really sweet, talked to me for a long time. Apparently the panniers belonged to her sister who moved to America. With these, I'm definitely not going to lose anything off the side of my bike--no sir. I will have to take them off the bike whenever I park and shop or whatever, and they are awkward to carry, but I'll devise a system. For what they are, it's more worth it to me to have the drawbacks and the benefits than no benefits at all. Plus, I'm planning on taking them back to the states with me, whereas if I just got a basket or something it wouldn't be worth returning with.
long tangent aside... I was cycling up Drumcondra Road/Swords Road/the N1, and most of it doesn't have cycle lanes, so I was on the left-hand side of bus lanes. Taxi after taxi would pass me INSIDE the lane--so close it was scary. So I moved to the middle and took the entire lane for myself, since cyclists are allowed to use bus lanes. Taxis would still try to get in-between me and the cars in the next lane if they could. One taxi even honked at me in traffic for having the nerve to be a cyclist on the road--and the funny thing is, he honked at me but I was travelling the SAME SPEED as the car ahead of me, since traffic was thick and slow at that point. I turned around and pointed to the car ahead of me so the guy could see it was RIGHT THERE. Sheesh, people.
I don't mind if they pass me when I'm on the left, as long as they give me about half the lane to exist in. But some drivers would give me less than a foot of space. That's not safe. I'm happy to get out of their way whenever possible, but if they insist on being assholes I will do what it takes to be safe--which involves taking a lane for myself, in the absence of cycle lanes (or when the cycle lanes are a joke, covered in parked cars or buses that start and stop every ten feet, forcing you to turn left when you wanna go straight or straight when you wanna turn right, randomly appearing and disappearing, covered in broken glass or potholes, etc.).
anyway. I LOVE the panniers. They are my payday treat, along with a pair of synthetic trouser underlayers since I ripped a hole in my other pair when I took a spill the other day. I mean, I can still use the ones with a hole (and probably will), but they're ones my dad gave me so they bag and sag and it's nice to have a pair now that fit against my skin and don't have a penis hole in them.
Yeah, payday... My first paycheck of my SALARY. I am a salaried office worker now. Wtf? Does that mean I'm a grownup? I lost my heels and suitjacket when I lost my purse, but still. I have a work email address. I am an office administrator who fills in spreadsheets and emails people all day. And does endless sums. MATHS ARGH.
Can't wait for the first leisurecycling.ie training meet in the end of January...